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Monday, January 12, 2009

Langara College Library

Langara College Library in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada by Teeple Architects

The following text and images are courtesy Teeple Architects; photographs are by Shai Gil.

The Langara College Library is conceived as an environmental form, inflected by the natural forces around it. The warped roof is a response to local wind patterns, accelerating crosswinds and pulling air upwards through the building in vertical wind towers, providing a natural alternative to conventional ventilation systems. A weather station on the roof senses wind direction, speed and humidity and adjusts louvers in the wind towers accordingly. The building is heated and cooled geothermally, innovations that are the expressive force underlying the experience of the architecture.

The elimination of air conditioning, heating and typical ventilation systems, and their replacement with geothermal heating and cooling in combination with natural ventilation, leads to a highly energy efficient building. The building is approximately 71% more energy efficient than the Model National Energy Code. The project is registered in the LEED program, and has targeted a Gold Level.

The ground floor of the library is a Learning Commons, which contains all the support services including the circulation and information desks, administration, computer labs and research stations. Stairs flow into large study spaces on the second floor, and beyond to quieter places of contemplation on the uppermost level. The density of stored knowledge expands as one moves upward through the building.

The project is a part of a master plan for the college as a whole, which foresees the transformation of the campus from a mega structure placed in a sea of parking, to a sequence of interdependent outdoor and indoor learning spaces. The library itself is carefully placed to define a new forecourt, a new west court, and a new student quad - the central focus for the campus. The reflecting pool in the forecourt links the college to the street, drawing the public into the quad beyond.

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